Top Ten Tuesday – My Favourite Australian Books of 2022

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that currently resides at The Artsy Reader Girl and features bloggers sharing lists on various book topics.  For this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, participants were supposed to list their top new-to-me authors that they read in 2022, however, I am going to do something differently here at The Unseen Library.  I already completed and published this list last week as I knew in advance that I would be doing an alternate list today.  The reason for this, and the reason I delayed putting this list up by a day, is because tomorrow, 26 January, is Australia Day, so I thought I would take this opportunity to once again highlight some of the top pieces of fiction written by Australian authors that I read in 2022.

Each year, a ton of talented Australian authors produce an impressive and exciting range of fiction from across the various genres, many of which I am lucky enough to get copies of from the local publishers.  I tend to read and review a lot of novels by Australian authors, most of which turn out to be some outstanding reads that I deeply enjoy.  As such, for the last few years on Australia Day I have taken to highlighting my favourite pieces of Australian fiction for the last few years (check out my 2019, 2020 and 2021 lists).  I really love how much awesome Australian fiction there is now, and this list is the perfect way to highlight some of the best recent Australian authors.

Now I tend to take a bit of a different approach to Australian fiction than some other bloggers, as I focus on books written by Australian authors rather than novels purely set in Australia or featuring Australian casts.  To qualify for this list, a novel had to be released in 2022 and written by an Australian author, which I am defining as anyone born in Australia or who currently lives here (Australia is very good at adopting talented people as our own).  This resulted in a long list, including several novels that I considered to be some of the best reads of last year.  I was eventually able to whittle this novel down to the absolute cream of the crop and came up with a fantastic top ten list (with my typical generous honourable mentions).  I really enjoyed how this list turned out, especially as it features novels from a range of different genres, all of which were very awesome Australian books.

Honourable Mentions:

Retribution by Sarah Barrie

Retribution Cover

Following on from her brilliant 2021 thriller, Unforgiven, Sarah Barrie continued to impress with her dark and compelling new release, Retribution, which follows an unconventional rookie cop as she takes on the worst of Sydney’s underworld.

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The Justice of Kings by Richard Swan

The Justice of Kings Cover

One of the hottest fantasy debuts of 2022, The Justice of Kings, was written by English expat turned Australian author Richard Swan.  An excellent blend of fantasy fiction, political intrigue and crime fiction, The Justice of Kings lives up to its hype and comes highly recommended.

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36 Streets by T. R. Napper

36 Streets Cover

A gripping and truly unique cyberpunk thriller set in futuristic Hanoi, 36 Streets is a great read from an awesome Australian talent.

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The Crimson Thread by Kate Forsyth

The Crimson Thread Cover

Kate Forsyth continued her dominance of the historical drama world with an amazing novel set on Crete during World War II.  Providing a compelling examination of the Nazi occupation of Crete while following two Australian soldiers who both fall for the same woman, The Crimson Thread was an outstanding and powerful read that is really worth checking out.

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Top Ten List:

Headcase by Jack Heath

Headcase Cover

Let’s start this list off with one of the best crime fiction books of 2022, the grizzly and deeply entertaining novel Headcase by the always impressive Jack Heath.  Heath is swiftly becoming one of my absolute favourite authors, and his amazing books, Hideout and Kill Your Brother have appeared on my 2020 and 2021 top Australian book lists respectfully.  His latest novel, Headcase, might be one of his best and while I still need to write a review for it, it is an exceptional read.  Following Heath’s cannibalistic protagonist as he investigates the mysterious death of an apparent Chinese astronaut in the NASA facility in Houston, Headcase is a brilliant and shocking read that is an absolute blast from start to finish.  I had so much wicked fun with this book, and it is a very worthy addition to this list.

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Call of Empire by Peter Watt

Call of Empire Cover

The latest book from one of my favourite historical fiction authors, Peter Watt, is another easy inclusion on this list as he continues his outstanding Colonial series with Call of Empire.  The fifth book in the Colonial series (which has previously featured The Queen’s Colonial, The Queen’s Tiger, The Queen’s Captain and The Colonial’s Son), Call of Empire continues to follow an intriguing Australian family whose members are drafted into several major wars towards the end of the 19th century.  Providing an intriguing view at Australia’s earliest military actions, Call of Empire was another awesome action-adventure novel from Watt that is a ton of fun to read.

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Stay Awake by Megan Goldin

Stay Awake Cover 2

Talented Australian thriller writer Megan Goldin continued to impress in 2022 with another complex and powerful read, Stay Awake.  Building on the success of such books as The Escape Room and The Night Swim, Stay Awake featured a unique story of a woman who awakens in New York covered in blood and with no memory of the last two years.  Hunted by a killer and unsure of what has happened to her life, the protagonist must uncover who is behind the murders before she falls asleep and loses her memories once again.  Clever, powerful and deeply intense, Stay Awake was another exceptional read from Goldin and I cannot wait to read her next book later this year.

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One Foot in the Fade by Luke Arnold

One Foot in the Fade Cover

Actor turned fantasy author Luke Arnold returned in 2022 with a particularly awesome urban fantasy novel, One Foot in the Fade.  The third book in his Fetch Phillips series, One Foot in the Fade perfectly continues the story started in Arnold’s previous books The Last Smile in Sunder City and Dead Man in a Ditch.  Set in a dark fantasy world where all the magic has been destroyed, One Foot in the Fade continues to follow Arnold’s damaged and obsessed protagonist, Fetch Phillips, as he tries to bring back the magic and save the former magical creatures he doomed.  Taking the character on a deadly adventure where he battles monsters, greedy humans and his own dark determination, One Foot in the Fade was one of Arnold’s best books yet and I cannot wait to see how he continues to grow as an author.

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The Unbelieved by Vikki Petraitis

The Unbelieved Cover

Next up we have The Unbelieved by Vikki Petraitis, which was a very easy choice to include on this list.  An extremely powerful and captivating read, The Unbelieved follows a tired detective who investigates a series of sexual assaults in a quiet Victorian town, only to come up against sexism, corruption, and a long-established code of silence.  Petraitis did something really special with The Unbelieved and I was instantly hooked by its complex story and intense examinations of how sexual crimes are perceived by rural Australians.  Not only was this one of the best debuts of 2022, but it also appeared on my top books of 2022 list as well.  A highly recommended read from an exceptional new talent.

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The German Wife by Kelly Rimmer

The German Wife Cover

Another book by an Australian author that appeared on my top books of 2022 list was The German Wife by Kelly Rimmer.  Rimmer, who deeply impressed me in 2021 with her outstanding novel, The Warsaw Orphan, once again dove into the darkness of Nazi Germany with The German Wife.  Following the struggles of a German family transported to America as part of Operation Paperclip, The German Wife explores their complex life, from the prejudice they suffer in America for being former Nazis, to the terrible truth about how their country betrayed them and forced them to become monsters.  One of the best historical dramas of 2022, The German Wife is such a great book, and I cannot wait to find out how Rimmer’s next book will break my heart in 2023.

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Wake by Shelley Burr

Wake Cover

While there were quite a few good Australian crime debuts in 2022, one of my favourites was the awesome and captivating Wake by Shelley Burr.  Set in a dying rural town, Wake sees a private investigator and a damaged survivor attempt to solve an infamous mystery of a missing girl who disappeared from her bedroom years ago without anyone noticing.  However, nothing is as it seems, and the characters are dragged through an emotional roller coaster as they attempt to discover the truth.  An insanely great debut, Wake was an epic read with a very clever mystery to it.

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Only a Monster by Vanessa Len

Only a Monster Cover

Another hot debut of 2022 from an awesome new Australian author was the powerful and complex young adult fantasy book, Only a Monster by Vanessa Len.  Following a teen protagonist who discovers she is really a monster who can travel through time, Only a Monster is a powerful and surprisingly dark read which I could not get enough of. 

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Daughters of Eve by Nina D. Campbell

Daughters of Eve Cover

Few Australian crime fiction reads of 2022 contained as many shocks and intriguing examinations of gender as Daughters of Eve by debuting author Nina D. Campbell.  A series of murders in Sydney quickly turns into a nation-wide crisis once it becomes known that violently abusive men are being killed off by a women’s movement known as the Daughters of Eve.  Sharp, fast-paced, and featuring a cynical, if accurate, examination of how men would react in this situation, Daughters of Eve was an outstanding book from an amazing new talent.

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Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone by Benjamin Stevenson

Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone Cover

The final Australian book on this list is the very fun and utterly hilarious murder mystery book, Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone by Benjamin Stevenson.  Set at a very hostile family reunion in an isolated Australian ski resort, Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone is clever and addictive homage to classic whodunnits, only this time every suspect is already a killer in some way.  Stevenson really taps into his comedy background to produce an amazingly entertaining novel that perfectly combines mystery, humour, and awesome references to the golden age of crime fiction.  A masterful novel that perfectly showcases Stevenson’s talents as a rising Australian author.

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Well, that is the end of this latest list and I am really happy that I got a chance to highlight some of the cool Australian releases of 2022.  The above books represent an outstanding collection of fiction from talented Australian authors, and each of them comes highly recommended by me.  I had a lot of fun coming up with this list and I cannot wait to find out what the best Australian books of 2023 are going to be.  Until then, stay tuned for more epic reviews and lists, and make sure you let me know who your favourite Australian authors are in the comments below.

Top Ten Tuesday – My Favourite Books of 2022

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that currently resides at The Artsy Reader Girl and features bloggers sharing lists on various book topics.  In this final Top Ten Tuesday for the year, I am going to list my absolute favourite books of 2022, which is something I look forward to every year.  This is a bit of a continuation of a series of lists I have been doing over the last month which have highlighted some of the authors and books I have been most impressed with this year, including my favourite audiobooksfavourite debuts and my top pre-2022 books I read this year.  However, this list here is the big one as it covers my absolute favourite releases of the year, of which there are quite a few.

I think we can all agree that 2022 has been another roller-coaster year for the world, but thankfully readers got a bit of solace from the fact that this was an amazing year for books, with a huge range of incredible releases coming out across the genres.  Not only did several outstanding new series start but we had some exceptional debuts and several incredible trilogies conclude in a big way.  I have had an amazing time reading or listening to so many outstanding books this year and quite a few releases have become instant favourites.  I must admit that I somewhat struggled to pull this list together, as there were so many books that deserved to be mentioned.  Therefore, because I am a very soft touch, and because the quality of the books I read this year was so impressive, I have decided to expand this list out to 20 entries (just like I have the last three years).  These 20 books are my absolute favourites from 2022, and I would strongly recommend every one of them to anyone interested in a great read.

To make it onto this list a book needed to be released here in Australia during 2022 and I had to have read it.  I have naturally excluded anything I haven’t read yet, even if there were quite a few awesome-sounding books I sadly didn’t squeeze into my reading schedule for this year, although I am sure that several of those would have made the cut.  I decided to leave off my usual Honourable Mentions section as the extra 10 entries kind of make it unnecessary.  There will be a bit of crossover between the below entries and some of my previous lists.  Several novels also appeared on my Top Ten Favourite Audiobooks of 2022 list and my Top Ten Favourite Books from the First Half of 2022 list which I ran back into July.  Overall, I am fairly happy with how this Top 20 list turned out and I think it contains a pretty good range of novels that really showcases the different types of books that I chose to read this year.  So without further ado, here is the list.

Top Ten List (no particular order):

The Bullet That Missed by Richard Osman

The Bullet That Missed Cover

The first entry on this list was a real no-brainer with the new Thursday Murder Club novel, The Bullet That Missed by British comedian Richard Osman.  The Bullet That Missed follows on from The Thursday Murder Club (one of my favourite books, audiobooks, and debuts of 2020) and The Man Who Died Twice (one of my favourite books and audiobooks of 2021) and might be one of Osman’s best novels yet.  Featuring his deeply likeable cast of pensioner crime solvers, The Bullet That Missed introduced another compelling murder investigation, loaded with intrigue, comedy and some deeply human moments.  Impossible to put down once you start, The Bullet That Missed was a very easy entry for this list and comes extremely highly recommended.

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A Practical Guide to Conquering the World by K. J. Parker

A Practical Guide to Conquering the World Cover

One of the very first books I read in 2022 was another easy pick for this list with the awesome fantasy comedy novel, A Practical Guide to Conquering the World.  The third and final book in K. J. Parker’s loosely connected Siege series, A Practical Guide to Conquering the World is an addictive and wildly funny read that sees a scholar become ruler of a fantasy world through a series of schemes and strange coincidences.  Featuring another wildly unreliable narrator, A Practical Guide to Conquering the World is a brilliant continuation of the outrageous tales told in Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City (one of my favourite books of 2019) and How to Rule an Empire and Get Away With It and it is easily one of the most hilarious and cleverest books of the year.

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Usagi Yojimbo: Tengu War! and Usagi Yojimbo: Crossroads by Stan Sakai

Usagi Joint Cover

Ok, so I am slightly cheating by combining two books into one entry, but when it comes to one of my favourite comic book series, the excellent Usagi Yojimbo comics by Stan Sakai, I have a hard time picking favourites.  Usually this isn’t an issue as Sakai generally only releases one volume of his comic a year.  However, in 2022, there were two Usagi Yojimbo volumes, the intense and compelling 36th volume, Tengu War! and the fast-paced 37th volume Crossroads.  Loaded with clever stories, complex characters, and some absolutely gorgeous artwork, both of volumes were extremely good and there was no way I could exclude either from this list.

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Ghazghkull Thraka: Prophet of the Waaagh! by Nate Crowley

Ghazghkull Thraka - Prophet of the Waaagh! Cover

2022 was a very, very good year for Warhammer 40,000 fiction and I have had an outstanding time getting through some of the best additions to this delightful extended universe.  Out of all this year’s releases, one of the best was Ghazghkull Thraka: Prophet of the Waaagh! by Nate Crowley, which features a unique and hilarious take on an iconic and ultra-destructive ork character.  A brilliant story told across multiple narrators (something that really pops in the audiobook format), Crowley featured all the right notes of action, comedy, dark treachery, and a clever examination of one of the game’s most iconic alien factions.  I had such an amazing time reading Ghazghkull Thraka: Prophet of the Waaagh!, and this is an absolute must-read for all fans of Warhammer fiction.

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Kagen the Damned by Jonathan Maberry

Kagen the Damned Cover

I doubt anyone is too surprised that the new Jonathan Maberry novel has shown up here.  I have featured several of Maberry’s recent releases on previous iterations of this list, although usually they are either horror or science fiction thriller releases, such as Ink, Rage and Relentless, however, in 2022 Maberry made the jump to epic fantasy fiction in a big way with the dark and despair-laden novel, Kagen the Damned.  The first book in an epic new series, Kagen the Damned follows a broken and devastated former hero who, after his royal charges are brutally murdered, finds himself damned by the gods.  But even hunted and damaged beyond all believe, he is still the deadliest man in the kingdom, and he sets off on a bloody mission of revenge.  Intense from the very first scene, Kagen the Damned was an exceptional read that gives you Maberry’s usual serving of blood, traumatised characters and dark deeds, this time in a great new fantasy setting.  I deeply enjoyed this exceptional read and I look forward to the next book which is being released very, very soon.

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Desperate Undertaking by Lindsey Davis

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The master of the historical mystery, Lindsey Davis, came up with another wonderful entry in her long-running Flavia Albia series this year with Desperate Undertaking.  A compelling murder mystery set in ancient Rome, Desperate Undertaking follows intrepid and clever investigator Flavia Albia as she tries to catch a deadly serial killer who stages their kills to mimic iconic scenes from ancient plays.  A very entertaining, compelling and dark tale, Desperate Undertaking is one of Davis’s best books yet and I was hooked almost instantly with it.

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The Hunger of the Gods by John Gwynne

The Hunger of the Gods Cover

I was very excited to read the new fantasy epic from John Gwynne, The Hunger of the Gods, this year, and it was a very worthy addition to this best-of-2022 list.  The sequel to last year’s exceptional novel, The Shadow of the Gods, The Hunger of the Gods continues Gwynne’s Norse-inspired fantasy tale, which follows several distinctive protagonists as they embark on multiple epic quests across a war-torn world whose destructive gods are re-awakening.  The Hunger of the Gods perfectly continued the amazing story started in the first book, and I once again fell in love with the detailed battles, intriguing dark fantasy world and the brilliant characters.  I had such an incredible time with this book and I cannot wait to see how Gwynne continues this awesome story in the future.

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Desert Star by Michael Connelly

Desert Star Cover

I have a very hard time excluding Michael Connelly from this list ever year and 2022 is no exception as I had a fantastic time with his latest book, Desert Star.  Once again teaming up two of his best characters, Desert Star was a complex and captivating crime fiction read that featured two great and emotionally charged cases.  I loved how this amazing book came together and I was especially impressed with the deeply personal tale Connelly told of his long-running protagonist, Harry Bosch, as he becomes obsessed with solving a murder that has long haunted him.  An excellent crime fiction book with a rich, character-driven narrative, Desert Star was an easy choice for this list and I am really intrigued to see what happens with this book’s main characters next.

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Sierra Six by Mark Greaney

Sierra Six Cover

Mark Greaney continues to shine with another great entry in his ambitious Gray Man series this year.  Following on from impressive reads like The Gray Man, Mission Critical, One Minute Out and Relentless, Sierra Six was another outstanding read that I really got drawn into.  Telling a multi-layered story set in both the past and the present, Sierra Six followed protagonist Court Gentry as he attempts to get revenge for one of his first missions with an enemy, he long thought was dead.  A tight, captivating read that makes excellent use of multiple timelines, Sierra Six was an amazing read that is highly recommended for all fans of the spy thriller.

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Against All Gods by Miles Cameron

Against all Gods Cover

Miles Cameron continues to showcase his writing range in 2022 with another five-star read in Against All Gods.  Set in a unique, bronze-age inspired fantasy world were angry gods rule humanity with an iron fist, Against All Gods follows a group of rebel humans who are dragged into a deadly, divine conspiracy by a crazed god of chaos who seeks the end of all her fellow deities.  A powerful and captivating read, Against All Gods was so much fun and I look forward to the upcoming sequel.

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Assassinorum: Kingmaker by Robert Rath

Assassinorum Kingmaker Cover

The other outstanding Warhammer 40,000 entry I had to include on this list was the incredibly epic Assassinorum: Kingmaker by Robert Rath.  This non-stop book follows three elite assassins as they must plot to assassinate a king, bonded to a massive mecha suit, while also ending an insidious conspiracy.  Extremely over-the-top, but with a compelling and well thought out narrative, Assassinorum: Kingmaker was a very addictive read that had so many great elements to it, from intense mecha warfare, to some complex and enjoyable characters.  An easy five-star read; this was one of the best Warhammer books I have ever read.

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The German Wife by Kelly Rimmer

The German Wife Cover

Last year I was extremely wowed by the deep and captivating historical drama, The Warsaw Orphan by Australian author Kelly Rimmer, which was such an exceptional read.  As such, I was very happy to receive a copy of Rimmer’s new book this year, The German Wife, which also blew me away.  Another complex historical drama, The German Wife examined the compelling story of the family of a former Nazi rocket scientist who are relocated to America as part of Operation Paperclip.  Facing prejudice from their new neighbours who only see them as the enemy, Rimmer reveals the true story behind this troubled family and the various evils they faced during the Nazi reign.  Heartbreaking, incredibly touching and a timely examination of the insidiousness of evil, The German Wife was a powerful and poignant book that I had to include on this list.

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In the Shadow of Lightning by Brian McClellan

In the Shadow of Lightning Cover

Another amazing and highly addictive fantasy read was In the Shadow of Lightning by Brian McClellan.  The first book in an intriguing new series centred around glass-based magic, In the Shadow of Lightning was a very compelling read that followed four great characters as they get involved with elaborate conspiracies, deadly politics and a massive war.  Near impossible to put down, In the Shadow of Lightning was such an incredible read and I cannot rave about this new series enough.

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The Lawless Land by Boyd and Beth Morrison

The Lawless Land Cover

One of most entertaining reads of 2022 had to be the very fun historical adventure novel, The Lawless Land, by new-to-me writing duo, Boyd and Beth Morrison.  Set in the 14th century amongst war and plague, The Lawless Land follows a disgraced knight and a runaway bride as they attempt to keep a precious holy relic out of the hands of a corrupt cardinal and a deranged English noble.  A continuously exciting and historically detailed book, The Lawless Land really grabbed my attention and I had such an amazing time reading this awesome historical novel.  I hope this great writing team present more fantastic books in the future and I look forward to reading them.

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The Martyr by Anthony Ryan

The Martyr Cover

Few books impressed me as much this year as The Martyr, the gripping and action-packed sequel to Anthony Ryan’s 2021 book, The Pariah.  Continuing the tale of Alwyn Scribe, a former outlaw who now works for a religious zealot, The Martyr is an elaborate tale of war, politics and fate as Alwyn finds himself amid a deadly war for the future.  Filled with some amazing action, including two exceptional sieges, The Martyr was a blast the entire way through, and I had such an incredible time reading it.

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Death of the Black Widow by James Patterson and J. D. Barker

Death of the Black Widow Cover

I had so much damn fun this year reading the cool thriller, Death of the Black Widow, written by the superb writing team of James Patterson and J. D. Barker.  Following a cop who becomes obsessed with a mysterious woman he meets his first night on the job, Death of the Black Widow sees the protagonist get caught in a decades long investigation to find her and stop the strange deaths that follow her appearance.  An excellent and highly exciting thriller that features some clever horror elements, I had a fantastic time reading this amazing read and I just had to include it on this list.

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The Golden Enclaves by Naomi Novik

The Golden Enclaves Cover Better

After really showcasing her skills in the last two years with her excellent, dark homages to the magical school genre with A Deadly Education and The Last Graduate, Naomi Novik brings her Scholomance trilogy to an incredible end with The Golden Enclaves.  Now set outside of the magic school, The Golden Enclaves sees main protagonist, Galadriel “El” Higgins, attempt to save the magic world while also getting over the traumatic cliff-hanger Novik left us on at the end of The Last Graduate.  Living up to all its potential, The Golden Enclaves had a fantastic story that perfectly wrapped up the series while hitting the reader with some well-foreshadowed twists and revelations.  I cannot wait to see what Novik will write next, but I know I am going to love it.

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Amongst Our Weapons by Ben Aaronovitch

Amongst our Weapons Cover

I was very lucky to receive a copy of the latest Rivers of London book by Ben Aaronovitch this year, Amongst Our Weapons, and it quickly became a favourite 2022 read of mine.  Seamlessly blending a classic police procedural story with a unique fantasy setting, Amongst Our Weapons sees main character Peter Grant investigate a series of magical murders across London that were apparently committed by an angel.  The book’s tight mystery and well-thought-out fantasy elements are expertly combined to produce an exceptional narrative that I had a blast with.  An outstanding read that once again shows why Aaronovitch is one of the best urban fantasy writers now.

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The Unbelieved by Vikki Petraitis

The Unbelieved Cover

There were many amazing debuts in 2022 but one that I found particularly impressive was the gritty Australian crime fiction read, The Unbelieved by Vikki Petraitis.  Set in rural Australia, The Unbelieved follows a damaged cop as she attempts to investigate a series of sexual assaults in her seemingly quiet small town, only to run into a wall of silence from the locals.  A slick and powerful read that contains a great story, The Unbelieved also served as a commentary on the perception of sexual violence in modern society which really hits you hard.  Petraitis really showed herself to be an outstanding new writing talent this year and I am very glad I was able to include The Unbelieved on this list.

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The Voyage of the Forgotten by Nick Martell

The Voyage of the Forgotten Cover

The final entry on my list is another slightly cheeky entry, mainly because I haven’t finished it yet.  This book is The Voyage of the Forgotten by Nick Martell, one of my most anticipated fantasy reads of 2022 which I only just started listening to last week.  The third and final book in Martell’s Legacy of the Mercenary King trilogy, The Voyage of the Forgotten follows on from the exceptional novels, The Kingdom of Liars and The Two-Faced Queen, which introduced and expanded a massively complex and elaborate fantasy tale of betrayal, world-ending plots, magic, and battles between hidden immortals.  I had such a great time with the previous two books in the series and I am deeply intrigued to see how Martell wraps everything up in the final book.  I am about halfway through The Voyage of the Forgotten and it is proving to be a particularly epic and captivating read that I am having a very hard time putting down, especially as every scene seems to reveal a new secret or answer a question from the previous books.  I cannot wait to find out how Martell ends this incredible trilogy and based on how good the first half of this book has been, there was no way I could exclude The Voyage of the Forgotten from this best of 2022 list.

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Well, those are my 20 favourite books of 2022. It turned out to be quite a good list in the end, and I am very glad that I was able to highlight so many fantastic books.  2023 is set to be another excellent year for amazing reads, and I will be examining some of my most anticipated books for the first half of the year next week.  In the meantime, let me know what your favourite books of 2022 were in the comments below, and make sure you all have a happy and safe New Years.

Top Ten Tuesday – My Favourite Books from the First Half of 2022

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that currently resides at The Artsy Reader Girl and features bloggers sharing lists on various book topics.  The official topic for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday involved listing your favourite upcoming books for Winter 2022.  However, as I had already done this list a few weeks ago, I thought I would instead take this opportunity to celebrate the fact that we are already nearly into the second half of 2022.

2022 has already proven to be a pretty fantastic year for books, and I have already read some incredible 2022 releases, including impressive standalone books, amazing new entries in established series and fantastic debuts.  Because of this, I thought that I would take the time to work out what my top ten favourite books from the first half of 2022 were.  To be eligible, a book had to be released in the first half of this year in some form.  I have also excluded any books released during this period that I have not so far read, although a couple of releases I have my eye on might have appeared on this list if I had read them in time.

Coming up with this list proved to be a rather bigger task than I originally intended, as I ended up amassing nearly 20 different releases, all of which I consider to be some pretty outstanding reads.  I ended up being able to eventually whittle this down to an acceptable Top Ten list, although I did include my typical generous honourable mentions section.  I am rather happy with how this list turned out, although I am surprised at some of the great recent books that ended up being excluded.  Still, the entries below represent what I considered to be some of the best books from the first half of 2022, and I would strongly recommend each and every one of them. 

Honourable Mentions:

Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone by Benjamin Stevenson

Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone Cover

A clever and hilarious take on the classic murder mystery story from a talented Australian crime fiction author.

 

Her Perfect Twin by Sarah Bonner

Her Perfect Twin Cover

An impressive debut by Sarah Bonner that imagines a woman murdering her twin and impersonating her.  Featuring a very twisty story that goes in some surprising, but fantastic directions, this was a very awesome read that sets Bonner up as an amazing new talent.

 

Warhammer 40,000: Steel Tread by Andy Clarke

Steel Tread Cover

A captivating and powerful Warhammer 40,000 tie-in novel from the start of the year that was an excellent piece of sci-fi military fiction.  Following the crew of the tank, Steel Tread, on a hellscape of a battlefield, this was an intense and action-packed story that I quickly flew through.

 

Master of Furies by Raymond E. Feist

Master of Furies Cover

Raymond E. Feist finalised The Firemane Saga (previously featuring King of Ashes and Queen of Storms) in a big way this year.  This was a great read that featured an addictive classic fantasy adventure with some very interesting surprise elements.

List (no particular order):

The Hunger of the Gods by John Gwynne

The Hunger of the Gods Cover

Let us start this list off with the book that has the best cover, The Hunger of the Gods by John Gwynne.  Following on from Gwynne’s epic 2021 novel, The Shadow of the Gods (one of my favourite books and audiobooks of 2021), The Hunger of the Gods perfectly continues the dark fantasy masterpiece, pitting men, gods and monsters against each other in a brutal, Norse-inspired fantasy world.  Featuring some outstanding new character perspectives, a bunch of great twists, and a ton of action, this sequel was a worthy addition to this fantastic series, and I had such an incredible time reading it.

 

Desperate Undertaking by Lindsey Davis

Desperate Undertaking Cover 2

One of my favourite historical fiction authors, Lindsey Davis, continues to shine with her long-running Flavia Albia historical murder mystery series.  This latest entry, Desperate Undertaking, features a complex and entertaining new mystery in ancient Rome when a troupe of actors start getting murdered in brutal, theatrical ways.  Easily one of Davis’ best stories, Desperate Undertaking grabs your attention right off the bat and refuses to let go.

 

A Practical Guide to Conquering the World by K. J. Parker

A Practical Guide to Conquering the World Cover

One of the very first novels that I read in 2022 ended up being one of the very best: the hilarious fantasy novel, A Practical Guide to Conquering the World by K. J. Parker.  Set in the same universe as his previous connected releases, Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City and How to Rule an Empire and Get Away with It, A Practical Guide to Conquering the World follows a scribe and translator who uses his scholarly knowledge and skills at manipulation to conquer the entire world.  Containing whip-sharp satire and a brilliant story, this was such an addictive and fun read I honestly could not put down.

 

Usagi Yojimbo: Tengu War! by Stan Sakai

Usagi Yojimbo - Tengu War!

My love affair with one of my favourite comics, Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo series, continued this year with the latest volume, Tengu War!  Containing several epic new stories, loaded with cool art and impressive world building, Tengu War! was another amazing volume that got a full five-star rating from me.  I loved this new volume so much and I can’t wait to get my hands on Sakai’s next release, Crossroads, later this year.

 

Sierra Six by Mark Greaney

Sierra Six Cover

Bestselling thriller author, Mark Greaney, is having a great year in 2022, with both the upcoming film adaptation of his debut novel, The Gray Man, and two awesome books coming out.  The first of these, Sierra Six, is one of his best, following iconic protagonist, Court Gentry, the infamous Gray Man, on another intense mission connected to one of his earliest assignments for the CIA.  I had a brilliant time with this new Gray Man novel (the 11th in the series), as it featured an impressive, split-time narrative with some great characters.  Another impressive book from Greaney that is really worth reading. 

 

Against All Gods by Miles Cameron

Against all Gods Cover

The always inventive Miles Cameron continues to shine brightly with a bold and compelling start to a new fantasy series with Against All Gods.  Set in a bronze-age inspired setting, Against All Gods follows a group of mortals who attempt the impossible and declare war on their violent and selfish gods.  With an addictive, over-the-top story, Against All Gods was a ton of fun, and it ended up being a truly amazing novel.

 

The German Wife by Kelly Rimmer

The German Wife Cover

Last year Australian author, Kelly Rimmer, produced a very impressive and extremely moving historical drama, The Warsaw Orphan, which really stuck with me.  As such, I was very excited to receive her new book, The German Wife, which ended up being a truly incredible read.  This fantastic novel follows two intriguing protagonists up to the 1950s as they traverse some of the worst parts of world history.  With a particularly intense focus on the rise of Nazism in Germany and the subsequent recruitment of German rocket scientists by the Americans, The German Wife is a captivating read that contains powerful emotional hit after powerful emotional hit.

 

Amongst Our Weapons by Ben Aaronovitch

Amongst our Weapons Cover

One of the leading authors of urban fantasy fiction, Ben Aaronovitch, returned with another superb entry in his Rivers of London series.  Featuring another exceptional fusion of a police procedural story with unique fantasy elements, Amongst our Weapons was a fantastic addition to the series.  Slick, clever and constantly entertaining, Amongst our Weapons once again showed off Aaronovitch’s talent and is an outstanding book to check out.

 

Ghazghkull Thraka: Prophet of the Waaagh! By Nate Crowley

Ghazghkull Thraka - Prophet of the Waaagh! Cover

I have been having so much fun reading Warhammer fiction over the last few years, and 2022 has already produced some amazing reads.  My favourite of this year so far had to be Nate Crowley’s outrageous and amusing Ghazghkull Thraka: Prophet of the Waaagh!  Following the most iconic ork in the Warhammer canon, this was an excellent retelling of Ghazghkull Thraka’s life from a unique source.  Filled with non-stop laughs, explosive action, and a real appreciation for the ork faction, this was a wildly appealing book that I had to feature here.

 

Death of the Black Widow by James Patterson and J. D. Barker

Death of the Black Widow Cover

The final novel I want to highlight is Death of the Black Widow, written by the superstar team of James Patterson and J. D. Barker.  A crime thriller with an intriguing horror twist, Death of the Black Widow was a surprising hit for me, and I really was drawn into its terrific story.  One of the more memorable and enjoyable books I have so far read this year, I had a lot of fun with Death of the Black Widow, and I deeply enjoyed its compelling tale of obsession, mystery and death.

 

 

I have already read some amazing and epic books so far in 2022 and we are only halfway through the year.  I am pretty happy with how this list turned out, and it features some extraordinary reads that all come highly recommended.  It will be interesting to see which of these books ends up being amongst my top reads of 2022, as there is some impressive competition coming out in the second half of the year, not to mention some outstanding current releases I need to check out.  Still, all the novels above come very highly recommended, and you are guaranteed to have a wonderful time reading them.  Let me know what your favourite releases for the first half of the year are in the comments below, as well as which of the above books you liked the most.

WWW Wednesday – 27 April 2022

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words, where bloggers share the books that they’ve recently finished, what they are currently reading and what books they are planning to read next. Essentially you have to answer three questions (the Three Ws):

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

So, let’s get to it.

What are you currently reading?

Death of the Black Widow by James Patterson and J. D. Barker (Trade Paperback)

Death of the Black Widow Cover

I just started reading Death of the Black Widow, a compelling and exciting thriller from the intriguing writing team of James Patterson and J. D. Barker.  Death of the Black Widow follows a young police officer who becomes obsessed with a mysterious murderess and spends the rest of his life trying to hunt her down.  I am about 60 pages into Death of the Black Widow at the moment and I am already hooked on its thrilling and captivating narrative. 

 

The Hunger of the Gods by John Gwynne (Audiobook)

The Hunger of the Gods Cover

I am still going with this audiobook version of The Hunger of the Gods by John Gwynne which is proving to be extremely exceptional.  The sequel to his highly regarded 2021 dark fantasy novel, The Shadow of the Gods, The Hunger of the Gods continues the brilliant storylines established in the first book while also introducing some fun new point-of-view characters.  I am loving every single second of this great book and I cannot wait to see how everything comes together at the end.  I have made some significant progress with this audiobook in the last week and I should hopefully finish it off in the next few days.

What did you recently finish reading?

The German Wife by Kelly Rimmer (Trade Paperback)

The German Wife Cover

 

Desperate Undertaking by Lindsey Davis (Trade Paperback)

Desperate Undertaking Cover 2

What do you think you’ll read next?

World of Warcraft: Sylvanas by Christie Golden

World of Warcraft - Sylvanas Cover

 

 

That’s it for this week, check back in next Wednesday to see what progress I’ve made on my reading and what books I’ll be looking at next.

The German Wife by Kelly Rimmer

The German Wife Cover

Publisher: Hachette Australia (Trade Paperback – 27 April 2022)

Series: Standalone

Length: 450 pages

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Amazon     Book Depository

One of Australia’s best authors, Kelly Rimmer, returns with another beautiful and exceedingly moving historical drama, The German Wife, which takes readers to the edge of despair and back again with its deep and bleak plot.

Kelly Rimmer is an outstanding author who specialises in writing great historical drama novels and who was one of the better authors I was lucky enough to experience for the first time last year when I received a copy of her 2021 novel, The Warsaw OrphanThe Warsaw Orphan was a brilliant and extremely powerful read that showcased multiple sides of the horror and terror experienced in the Warsaw Ghetto while also telling the unique tale of two young people who tried to smuggle young children outside the ghetto walls.  Brutal, extreme and yet filled with hope, this was a deeply moving novel that ended up an incredible read.  Due to how great this novel was, I was extremely keen to check out more stuff from Rimmer and I was extremely happy when I found myself receive a copy of her latest novel, The German Wife.

Berlin, 1930.  Sofie Rhodes can only watch in horror as the Nazi Party starts to take control of her country, slowly morphing it into a nation of hatred and fear.  Already facing financial ruin after World War I and the Depression, Sofie and her husband, Jürgen, find themselves receiving special attention from the Nazis due to Jürgen’s scientific speciality.  When Jürgen is forcibly recruited to Hitler’s top-secret rocket project, Sofie finds herself constantly under surveillance and forced to conform to Nazi ideology, including turning her back on her Jewish best friend, Mayim.

Many years later, in 1950, Sofie and her remaining children emigrate to a small town in Alabama to be with Jürgen, whose past with the Nazis has been pardoned and erased in exchange for his work on the US space program.  Determined to make a new life for herself and her family in America, Sofie soon discovers old and new prejudices both from the hostile Americans and the other German families living in town with them.

Isolated and hated, Sofie finds her path crossing with American housewife Lizzie Miller, who has her own history of loss and despair during the Depression.  Shocked that her husband and government are so eager to be working with former Nazis, Lizzie keeps finding herself in conflict with Sofie, while rumour and gossip about the Rhodes family swirl around town.  When these rumours lead to violence and anger, the new community will be torn apart as the true history of the Rhodes family comes tumbling out.  Can this troubled family finally find redemption in a new land, or will the horrors of the war and Nazi ambition follow them wherever they go?

Damn, this was an intense and captivating read.  Rimmer went all out with the emotional feels here in The German Wife, producing a powerful, moving and tragic tale of love, loss and moral compromise.  Perfectly portraying some fascinating elements of the darkest part of our history, this was an exceptional read that gets a full five-star rating from me.

I cannot emphasise enough how good the story in The German Wife was as Rimmer produced a deeply dramatic historical tale with an impressive scope that comes together beautifully.  Split between its two point-of-view characters, Sofie Rhodes and Lizzie Miller, The German Wife presents a complex, time-hopping narrative as the reader is shown the protagonists conflict as well as the events that led them to meet for the first time.  Half the book takes place in 1950 Alabama, where both ladies live with their respective families, while the other half of the book goes back and sequentially examines their pasts from 1930 onward.  This provides the reader with an intriguing view of both the Depression in America and the rise of Nazism in Germany, while also providing some intriguing context for the characters’ actions in 1950.  This mixture of perspectives and time periods works extremely well, and Rimmer melds them together perfectly to tell a taught and emotionally rich tale.  The past injustices and emotional traumas that occur in these earlier timelines contrast perfectly with the issues they are having in the 1950s, and it was great to see all the events that built towards the attitudes and emotions they had when they were older.  It also provides three unique storylines (1930s America, 1930s Germany and 1950s America), all three of which contained some intriguing side characters and captivating historical elements, which was extremely compelling.

Out of the three main plot lines that The German Wife contained, I personally thought the examinations of Sofie and Jürgen’s time in Nazi Germany were the best.  These scenes are particularly compelling, as they show the characters thrust into the middle of events they can’t escape from as they are forced to work with the Nazis and accept the changes to the country.  Watching these inherently good characters make compromise after compromise and suffer constant emotional trauma and betrayal is pretty heartbreaking, but it produces some brilliant and memorable scenes that will really hit you in the feels.  This context, and Lizzie’s excellent backstory, are worked into the 1950s storyline extremely well, and the various time periods compliment each other well, especially as Rimmer works to provide several cryptic hints about past events in the future chapters, which really adds to the reader’s apprehension.  All these storylines, including the one in the 1950s, which examines the many issues the Rhodeses face when they emigrate to America, as well as the conflict that occurs between Sofie and Lizzie, are brilliantly written and loaded with emotional moments that hit you hard.  There is also some great character work contained with The German Wife as Rimmer really builds up her central two characters, as well as the excellent supporting cast, providing them with captivating and compelling personal histories, which are fully explored in the flashback scenes.  This great story, combined with the fantastic characters and the historical settings, is a narrative that will sit with me for a long time.

Rimmer also provides a detailed and impressive look at various historical elements that occurred between 1930 and 1950 in both America and Germany.  The author clearly did a ton of research on multiple subjects before writing this book, and it really shows as the story progresses.  These historical elements include a pretty comprehensive look at life in America during the Depression, as one point of view characters journeys around several parts of the deeply impacted South, and there are some great scenes, especially some of the early ones that take place in an extremely dusty climate.  There is also a great examination of both the Nazi and American rocket programs that occurred during this period, as Jürgen serves as a technician for both governments.  I found the examination of the V2 program to be extremely interesting, and Rimmer goes into exquisite detail here, with Jürgen serving as an intriguing stand-in for historical figure Wernher von Braun.  This allows for the reader to see a slightly abridged version of the program (its shown through the eyes of his wife who is getting most of her knowledge second hand), but there is still a lot of great detail here, including the eventual change in objectives, the continued failure, the desire for it to succeed by the Nazis, as well as all the terrible things that resulted from it.  However, a good part of the book is also reserved to examine one of the most fascinating parts of the Nazi rocket program, the subsequent responsive Operation Paperclip by the Americans, which pardoned many of the German scientists and moved them to America with altered pasts to help their fledgling space program.  I loved seeing this movement to another country told through the eyes of both a wife of one of the scientists and an American citizen who finds out about the program, and it produces some brilliant and clever scenes that help showcases this extremely well.

I also really need to highlight Rimmer’s examination of the Nazi takeover of Germany that occurred in all Sofie’s flashback chapters.  Rimmer already has a lot of experience showcasing the evils of the Nazis from her previous books, but The German Wife probably contains one of her best depictions of this as it showed how a normal German citizen’s life was turned upside down in just a few years.  The author really hammers home just how creatively evil the Nazis were in corrupting their own country, as you see the full gradual process take effect.  The author meticulously recounts every change that the Nazis implemented, all of which served to ensure the loyalty of its people and to terrorise those they hated.  You get to see the full range of controls that the Nazis enacted, including threatening job security, disappearances by the secret police, control of the media, turning friends and neighbours against each other, providing a common enemy, and even brainwashing children in the schools.  All of this is pretty damn intense, especially as there are some notable modern parallels, and it is darkly fascinating to see everything that the Nazis did.  However, the true brilliance of the way that Rimmer explores it in The German Wife, is to show how people like the Rhodes reacted to it.  Watching them become horrified by the changes to their country and the people around them is pretty intense, but the real drama occurs when they are forced to make compromises.  Sofia and Jürgen are constantly faced with the choice of helping the Nazis (either directly or indirectly by not opposing them), or to face various consequences for themselves and their families.  Their decisions, despite always appearing to be their best option, eventually drag them deeper into complicity with the Nazis, so much so that Jürgen becomes a reluctant member of the SS and bears some responsibility for utilising slave labour in terrible conditions.  This is such a horrifying thing to witness, especially as the reader is left to wonder what they would have done in a similar situation.  They way the scenarios are written, with the Rhodes punished every time they move away from the party goals really ensure that you have no idea how you would have acted it makes some of the reactions from the 1950s American characters sound extremely naïve as a result.  This was such a powerful and impressive inclusion from Rimmer and I felt that this brilliant portrayal of the Nazi’s techniques for control of their own citizens added so much to book’s outstanding plot.

With The German Wife, Kelly Rimmer continues to shine as one of Australia’s most exceptional authors of historical dramas.  This outstanding contains an extremely moving and heartbreaking tale from some of the darkest moments in 19th century history.  With powerful views of life during both the Depression and the rise of the Nazis, readers will quickly become engrossed with this impressive tale and well-written central characters.  The German Wife was insanely good and will leave readers stunned with how the story comes together.  A deeply memorable and intense read, I cannot recommend this book enough.

Amazon     Book Depository

Book Haul – 24 April 2022

I’ve just had a rather good week for book collecting, which included a particularly big parcel from one publisher that was filled with awesome reads.  As these books included some pretty amazing novels, including a couple that I was extremely excited to get, I figured I would do a Book Haul post to gloat about, I mean, lovingly highlight, the latest additions to my collection.  All the below books sound really cool and I can’t wait to get through them all.

The Hunger of the Gods by John Gwynne

The Hunger of the Gods Cover

So let us start this Book Haul off with the book I was most excited to get, the epic The Hunger of the Gods by John Gwynne, one of my most anticipated reads for 2022.  The sequel to Gwynne’s brilliant The Shadow of the Gods (one of my favourite books and audiobooks of 2021), this outstanding novel continues the impressive, Norse inspired, dark fantasy Bloodsworn Saga in a big way by setting reborn gods against each other as savage warriors battle for revenge, glory and survival.  I have already started this awesome novel and it is turning out to pretty damn good, and this is probably going to get another five-star rating from me.  Also, just check out that incredible cover!!!!!

 

The German Wife by Kelly Rimmer

The German Wife Cover

I was also lucky enough to receive historical drama The German Wife from Australian author Kelly Rimmer, who blew me away last year with her moving novel, The Warsaw Orphan.  I actually have already read this great book and it was another powerful historical drama that presents a complex portrayal of life under the Nazis and the lasting consequences of the choices people make.

 

Desperate Undertaking by Lindsey Davis

Desperate Undertaking Cover 2

I was very, very happy to receive the latest Flavia Albia novel from historical fiction author Lindsey Davis, Desperate Undertaking.  The Flavia Albia books are some of my favourite historical fiction novels and they are a brilliant and much anticipated addition to my yearly reading schedule (some of the best ones include The Third Nero, Pandora’s Boy, The Grove of the Caesars).  I just started reading Desperate Undertakings today and I am already loving its great story about a serial killer who is murdering members of ancient Rome’s theatre scene in some elaborate, play inspired ways.  This already shaping up to be one of the better entries in this long-running series and I cannot wait to see how it all comes together.

 

The Man in the Bunker by Rory Clements

The Man in the Bunker

Another great book I was excited to get is the latest entry in the Tom Wilde series, The Man in the Bunker by Rory Clements.  Set at the end of World War II, this interesting read will follow protagonist Tom Wilde as he attempts to determine whether Hitler died in the bunker or actually escaped.  Sure to be a great historical thriller, I cannot wait to read this book.

 

One Foot in the Fade by Luke Arnold

One Foot in the Fade Cover

Australian author Luke Arnold’s Fetch Phillips urban fantasy series continues with the third book, One Foot in the Fade.  The intriguing follow-up to Arnold’s first two novels, The Last Smile in Sunder City and Dead Man in a Ditch, One Foot in the Fade will once again follow protagonist Fetch Phillips as he continues to try and bring magic back to his city.  This time he must deal with mysterious falling angels landing on the street which will no doubt leave to another awesome mystery.

 

Wake by Shelley Burr

Wake Cover

One of the most interesting novels I received as part of this haul is the compelling new debut from Canberran author Shelley Burr, Wake.  Set in small town, outback Australia, Wake is an incredible mystery thriller which sees a determined investigator attempt to solve an impossible disappearance.  I deeply love the sound of this extremely compelling and very dark narrative and I look forward to finding out the clever secrets contained within.

 

Skyward Flight by Brandon Sanderson and Janci Patterson

Skyward Flight Cover

I was quite excited to receive a copy of Skyward Flight, the ultimate companion to Brandon Sanderson’s Skyward series.  I have a lot of love for the Skyward novels which follows a determined teenage fighter pilot who is determined to save her planet from an alien invasion.  Made up of Skyward (one of my favourite books of 2018), Starsight (one of my favourite books of 2019) and Cytonic, this has been an awesome series to read, and Skyward Flight will provide some further context to the existing books.  Collecting the three novellas, Sunreach, ReDawn and Evershore, which Sanderson cowrote with Janci Patterson, the stories in this book focus on the supporting cast from the first two novels and showcases what happens while the protagonist is trapped in another dimension.  I have been meaning to explore these novellas for a while and this big volume looks to be the ultimate opportunity to finally do that.

 

Blood Sugar by Sascha Rothchild

Blood Sugar Cover

Easily the most uniquely entertaining sounding book I received in this haul was the fantastic murder mystery book, Blood Sugar by Sascha Rothchild.  The debut novel from Rothchild, Blood Sugar tells the tale of a killer, Ruby, who finds herself accused of four separate murders.  However, Ruby only committed three of the murders, and now the crime she didn’t commit may finally bring her down.

 

Portrait of a Thief by Grace D. Li

Potrait of a Thief Cover

Another great debut novel I was excited to get was Portrait of a Thief from Grace D. Li.  This book is billed as a heist novel that also looks at unique friendships and culture as five Chinese American students attempt to steal valuable Chinese artworks from an American museum.  I love the idea of a heist story that also looks at five character’s relationships with both their home and adopted countries, and I am very keen to try this novel out.

 

No Less The Devil by Stuart MacBride

No Less the Devil Cover

The final book I received was No Less the Devil from bestselling author Stuart MacBride.  Serving as the latest entry in the Oldcastle series, No Less the Devil will focus on both a hunt for a notorious serial killer and a mysterious case of another killer caught up in a shadowy conspiracy.  This sounds like a great, dark mystery and I am curious to try out Stuart MacBride’s work for the first time.

 

Well that’s the end of this latest Book Haul post.  As you can see I have quite a bit of reading to do at the moment thanks to all these awesome books that have come in.  Let me know which of the above you are most interested in and make sure to check back in a few weeks to see my reviews of them.

WWW Wednesday – 20 April 2022

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words, where bloggers share the books that they’ve recently finished, what they are currently reading and what books they are planning to read next. Essentially you have to answer three questions (the Three Ws):

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

So, let’s get to it.

What are you currently reading?

The German Wife by Kelly Rimmer (Trade Paperback)

The German Wife Cover

I have been really getting into this excellent historical drama from Australian author Kelly Rimmer, who really impressed me last year with her previous book, The Warsaw Orphan.  Her latest novel, The German Wife, tells a complex and multi-layered story about the family of a former Nazi scientist who was recruited by the Americans to work on the US rocket program, and who face many issues from their new American neighbors.  Containing an exceedingly intense narrative set around some powerful depictions of both Nazi German and 1950s America, The German Wife is a brilliant read and I will hopefully finish it off in the next day or so.

 

The Hunger of the Gods by John Gwynne (Audiobook)

The Hunger of the Gods Cover

I only just started the epic new novel from bestselling fantasy author John Gwynne, The Hunger of the Gods.  The sequel to last year’s incredible The Shadow of the Gods (one of my favourite books and audiobooks of 2021), The Hunger of the Gods looks set to be another outstanding novel and I cannot wait to see what exceptional, dark fantasy craziness occurs here.  This is a pretty massive audiobook so it might take me a little while to get through it, but hopefully I will have made some major progress by this time next week.

What did you recently finish reading?

Amongst our Weapons by Ben Aaronovitch

Amongst our Weapons Cover

 

Star Wars: Kenobi by John Jackson Miller

Star Wars - Kenobi Cover

What do you think you’ll read next?

Desperate Undertaking by Lindsey Davis

Desperate Undertaking Cover 2

 

That’s it for this week, check back in next Wednesday to see what progress I’ve made on my reading and what books I’ll be looking at next.

Top Ten Tuesday – My Favourite Book Covers of 2021

Welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday, where I am going to list my absolute favourite book covers of the last year.  This is actually the second Top Ten Tuesday post I am putting up today, mainly because I wanted to finish off all my best-of-2021 lists before we got too far into the new year.  I have previously highlighted several other amazing books from last year in a range of lists, including My Favourite Books of 2021, Favourite Audiobooks, Favourite Debuts and Favourite Australian Fiction lists, and I think looking at awesome covers is a good way to wrap this all up.

Now, I know you aren’t supposed to judge a book by its cover, but I think we can all agree that an awesome piece of cover art can really raise some interest in a novel.  I can personally think of several examples where an epic cover absolutely grabbed me and convinced me to check out a novel that I ended up really loving.  2021 was a great example of this as there were some extremely cool and impressive covers that I thought were visually stunning.  Most of these outstanding covers complemented and emphasised the amazing stories within, and in some places the cover artists really went all out to produce some truly epic statement pieces.  As such, I thought I would quickly highlight some of the best covers here by producing a visually awesome list.  To appear on this list, the book had to be released in 2021 and had to be generally impressive and amazing.  I think I ended up choosing a great range of excellent covers, and I hope you enjoy all the pretty pictures below.  I have tried to find out who did the cover art where possible, although for a couple of books (ones I got on audiobook and don’t have a physical copy of), I couldn’t find out who drew it.  Apologies in advance for any artist I overlooked.

Honourable Mentions:

Lies Like Wildfire written by Jennifer Lynn Alvarez, cover by MISHKO

Lies Like Wildfire Cover

 

The Dark written by Jeremy Robinson

The Dark Cover

 

Breakout written by Paul Herron, cover by Patrick Insole

Breakout Cover

 

The Mask of Mirrors written by M. A. Carrick, cover by Nekro and Lauren Panepinto

The Mask of Mirrors Cover

Top Ten Tuesday:

The Shadow of the Gods written by John Gwynne, cover by Marcus Whinney

The Shadow of the Gods Cover

My absolute favourite cover of 2021, this epic piece of art really grabbed my attention and forced me to read this impressive piece of fantasy fiction.  I had a wonderful time with The Shadow of the Gods and the upcoming sequel, The Hunger of the Gods, also has an extremely awesome cover (easily going to be one of the best covers of 2022).

 

Star Wars: Visions: Ronin written by Emma Mieko Candon, cover by Ella Laytham and Kotaro Chiba

Star Wars Visions - Ronin Cover

There were some cool pieces of Star Wars cover art out this year, but nothing could top the artistic masterpiece that appeared on Ronin.  A tie-in to the Star Wars: Visions anime series, the cover of Ronin made perfect use of traditional Japanese artforms to create something exceptional.  I loved the blend of Star Wars iconography and the classic Japanese wave form, and this was an absolute joy to behold.

 

The Pariah written by Anthony Ryan, cover by Lauren Panepinto and Jaime Jones

The Pariah Cover

A clever and subtle bit of art that showcases the roguish protagonist of this fun fantasy novel.  I think the artist did a great job of highlighting what was to come in The Pariah, and the cool detail around the character was very impressive.  While I loved the art for The Pariah, I think that the cover on the upcoming sequel, The Martyr, is even better, and I can’t wait to grab it.

 

The Twice-Dead King: Ruin, written by Nate Crowley

The Twice-Dead King - Ruin Cover

Gosh artists must have so much fun coming up with art for Warhammer covers, as there are some amazing and fantastic elements contained in this extended universe.  I particularly loved this cover from last year, which showcases the ancient and mysterious Necron race in all their glory.  A great cover for a very entertaining tie-in novel.

 

The Warsaw Orphan written by Kelly Rimmer, cover by Christabella Designs

The Warsaw Orphan Cover

A simple and understated cover that does a wonderful job highlighting the upcoming dread and tragedy contained in this moving historical drama novel.

 

Colonyside, written by Michael Mammay, cover by Sebastien Hue

Colonyside Cover

There have been some really great covers for the previous books in Michael Mammay’s Planetside series (Planetside and Spaceside), but I think that the one for Colonyside was the best.  I love the above shot, especially as it perfectly captures the insane jungle planet that was such a distinctive setting of this book.  A very fun cover!

 

Star Wars: The High Republic: Tempest Runner, written by Cavan Scott, cover by Katerina Balikova

Star Wars - Tempest Runner Cover

While I also deeply enjoyed one of the covers for Cavan Scott’s other 2021 Star Wars release, The Rising Storm, I think that the cool art that adorned the front of Tempest Runner was even better.  Tempest Runner, which was released as both a full-cast audio drama and a paperback, was a great read, and I loved how this cover did a fantastic job of capturing it’s entertaining and deadly central character.

 

Later, written by Stephen King, cover by Paul Mann

Later Cover

I loved the classic mystery novel feel that the artists choose to utilise for Stephen King’s early 2021 release, Later.  This cover does a fantastic job capturing the unique tone of this cool horror/coming-of-age story and gives it a fun, crime fiction-tinged edge.  This cover, as well as another couple of covers done by Gregory Manchess for the hardcover version, also fit the story really well, especially as they connect to the cheesy adventure novels that the protagonist and his mother produce.

 

Cytonic written by Brandon Sanderson, cover by Sam Green and Tomas Almeida

Cytonic Cover

I have a lot of love for the cool covers that get used in the Gollancz versions of Brandon Sanderson’s Skyward series (so far consisting of Skyward and Starlight).  The cover for the third book, Cytonic, was particularly awesome, and I loved how it showcased parts of the very unique new setting of the third novel.

 

The Art of Death written by David Fennell, cover by Nick Stearn

The Art of Death Cover

A creepy and eye-catching piece of artwork that hints at the disturbing crimes contained in this fantastic 2021 crime fiction debut.

 

Well, that’s the end of this second list, I hope you enjoyed all the cool covers above.  Make sure to me know what your favourite book covers of 2021 was in the comments below and I cannot wait to see what awesome and epic pieces of art will grace the front of 2022’s best reads.

Top Ten Tuesday – My Favourite Australian Books of 2021

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that currently resides at The Artsy Reader Girl and features bloggers sharing lists on various book topics.  For this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, participants were supposed to list their top new-to-me authors that they read in 2021, however, I am going to do something differently here at The Unseen Library.  I already completed and published this list last week as I knew in advance that I would be doing an alternate list today.  The reason for this is because tomorrow, 26 January, is Australia Day, so I thought I would take this opportunity to highlight some of the top pieces of fiction written by Australian authors that I read in 2021.

Each year talented Australian authors produce an impressive and exciting range of fiction from across the various genres, many of which I am lucky enough to get copies of from the local publishers.  I tend to read and review a ton of novels by Australian authors, most of which turn out to be some outstanding reads that I deeply enjoy.  As such, for the last few years on Australia Day I have taken to highlighting my favourite pieces of Australian fiction for the last few years (check out my 2019 and 2020 lists).  I really love how much awesome Australian fiction there is out in the world, and this list is the perfect way to highlight some of the best recent Australian authors.

Now I tend to take a bit of a different approach to Australian fiction than some other bloggers, as I focus on Australian authors rather than those purely set in Australia or featuring Australian casts.  To qualify for this list, a novel had to be released in 2021 and written by an Australian author, which I am defining as anyone born in Australia or who currently lives here (Australia is very good at adopting talented people as our own).  This resulted in a long list, including several novels that I considered to be some of the best reads of last year.  I was eventually able to whittle this novel down to the absolute cream of the crop and came up with a fantastic top ten list (with my typical generous honourable mentions).  I really enjoyed how this list turned out, especially as it features novels from a range of different genres, all of which were very awesome Australian books.

Honourable Mentions:

The Colonial’s Son by Peter Watt

The Colonial's Son Cover

One of the best Australian historical fiction authors, Peter Watt, started a great new series last year with The Colonial’s Son.  The sequel to his amazing Colonial series (made up of The Queen’s Colonial, The Queen’s Tiger and The Queen’s Captain), this was a fun and action packed novel that continued some great storylines from the first series.

 

Prisoner by S. R. White

The Prisoner Cover

A taut and clever bushland murder mystery that saw a determined investigator methodically solve a murder through smart police work and multiple interviews with the suspects.

 

The 22 Murders of Madison May by Max Barry

The 22 Murders of Madison May Cover

An extremely exciting novel from awesome author Max Barry that sees a resourceful journalist follow a serial killer throughout the multiverse as he attempts to kill every version of his crush.

 

The Paris Collaborator by A. W. Hammond

The Paris Collaborator Cover

An intense and compelling historical thriller set in occupied Paris; The Paris Collaborator was a great read with a fantastic story to it.

Top Ten List:

Kill Your Brother by Jack Heath

Kill Your Brother Cover

Let us start this list off with the incredibly cool Kill Your Brother by amazing author Jack Heath.  Kill Your Brother is a dark and very clever read that follows an infamously damaged protagonist as they are given a choice to either kill their brother or be killed themself.  Set in rural Australia and loaded with great twists, this was an outstanding and awesome novel that was one of the most entertaining and addictive books I read all last year.

 

The Councillor by E. J. Beaton

The Councillor Cover

Australian author E. J. Beaton had one of the best debuts of 2021 with her excellent fantasy read, The Councillor.  Set in a divided and besieged fantasy realm, The Councillor follows a palace scholar who is given ultimate power and must decide the fate of her kingdom through politics, treachery and deceit.  An impressive first book that is really worth checking out.

 

The Housemate by Sarah Bailey

The Housemate Cover

One of the most incredible reads of 2021 was the intense and captivating murder mystery novel The Housemate by Sarah Bailey.  Set in Melbourne, this book sees an infamous murder case reopened after one of the supposed victims reappears and then dies again.  Following a conflicted journalist whose past connections to the crime is slowly driving her crazy, this was an awesome read that I honestly could not put down.

 

The Warsaw Orphan by Kelly Rimmer

The Warsaw Orphan Cover

Impressive author Kelly Rimmer produced one of the absolute best historical dramas last year with her moving book, The Warsaw Orphan.  Set in occupied Warsaw, this novel followed two very damaged protagonists as they attempt to save as many Jewish babies as possible from the Nazis.  Grim, intense, and loaded with tragedy, this is an excellent historical drama that comes very highly recommended.

 

The Enemy Within by Tim Ayliffe

The Enemy Within Cover

Australian journalist turned crime fiction author Tim Ayliffe had an excellent release in 2021 with The Enemy Within, the third book in his John Bailey series.  Following on from the great stories told in The Greater Good and State of Fear, The Enemy Within had a brilliant story that perfectly utilised recent, controversial Australian events and places Ayliffe’s nosy reporter protagonist right in the middle of them.

 

Unforgiven by Sarah Barrie

Unforgiven Cover

One of the latest Australian books of 2021 that I have read, Unforgiven is an exceptionally dark and powerful novel that follows a former victim of child abuse who has grown up and now hunts the monsters who ruined her childhood.  Containing an exceptional mystery and some brilliant characters, this is an impressive, if grim, thriller that I deeply enjoyed reading.

 

Aurora’s End by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Aurora's End Cover

The Australian dream team of Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff finished off their amazing young adult science fiction Aurora Cycle series last year with the impressive Aurora’s End.  This awesome and extremely fast paced novel featured a very clever multi-time period storyline that did a fantastic job of wrapping up the compelling story of the previous two novels (Aurora Rising and Aurora Burning).  One of the better young adult series of the last few years, I am really glad that Kaufman and Kristoff saw it off in amazing fashion.

 

2 Sisters Detective Agency by James Patterson and Candice Fox

2 Sisters Detective Agency Cover

Ok, so I know that James Patterson isn’t Australian, but his cowriter for this novel, Candice Fox, is one of the best Australian crime fiction authors out there at the moment, and I loved her work on this entertaining and fun book.  Following two very different sisters as they attempt to solve crimes in Los Angeles, this was an extremely exciting and hilarious book that features a really good story.  I had an amazing time reading 2 Sisters Detective Agency and I really hope that this collaboration between Patterson and this rising Australian author continues in the future.  Make sure to also check out Candice Fox’s other 2021 release, The Chase, which had a great prison-break storyline.

 

She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan

She Who Became the Sun Cover

Another epic debut by an Australian author last year was the highly regarded She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan.  This bold and addictive read follows a young girl from rural China who takes her dead brother’s destined greatness and starts a journey to take back China from the Mongolian dynasty and become Emperor.  Featuring a unique and clever story that utilises historical fiction and fantasy elements, this was an amazing read from an impressive new Australian author.

 

Blood Trail by Tony Park

Blood Trail Cover

The final book on this list is the latest novel from one of Australia’s premier thriller authors, Tony Park.  Park’s new novel, Blood Trail, once again journeys to Africa and follows several great characters as they attempt to capture near-magical poachers and kidnappers in a game preserve.  An amazing adrenalin ride from start to finish, Blood Trail was an outstanding read, and I cannot wait to see what Park will release in 2022.

 

 

Well, that is the end of this latest list and I am really happy that I got a chance to highlight some of the cool Australian releases of 2021.  The above books represent an outstanding collection of fiction from talented Australian authors, and each of them comes highly recommended by me.  I had a lot of fun coming up with this list and I cannot wait to find out what the best Australian books of 2022 are going to be.  Until then, stay tuned for more epic reviews and lists, and make sure you let me know who your favourite Australian authors are in the comments below.